As the author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body, Martin's done a boatload of research on this topic; she writes that Knightley has made it clear to the people behind her latest movie, The Duchess, that no one is to tamper with her body this time. As Martin puts it:
Keira isn't telling young women anything they don't already know. We've watched Next Top Model. We've taken media literacy classes. What she is doing--and it's significant--is reminding us to honor what we already know: namely that the images we see every day on television, in magazines, online, are notoriously technologically-altered and unrealistic. It's not willpower that makes these women's bodies perfect--it's money, money, money, and a splash of genetic predisposition.Many of us who have been 'round the block a few times may just shrug and say, "So what? It's par for the course." But Martin's book goes into great detail about how these images nevertheless worm their way into the thinking of girls, teens, and young women...and make us sick about who we are. Every time a well-known celebrity stands up and says, "I'm good enough. Don't you dare change me or judge me," she chips away at impossible media stereotypes and puts another crack in the artificial facade of how women are 'supposed' to look.
Keira Knightly isn't the first to do this. And you know she won't be the last. Over time, those chips and cracks will take their toll...and that facade will finally crumble to the relief of us all.
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